5 New Challenges You Can Face as an Intern

By Alicia Geigel on July 28, 2022

Whether you need an internship for college credits or are getting started on your career as an upperclassman, starting an internship can feel like it’s you against the world for a number of reasons. A new work environment, new coworkers, or even a new job field could all be reasons why this new path doesn’t feel as smooth as it should.

Launching your career while in college is no easy feat, and internships can definitely have their fair share of bumps along the way. While most internship challenges can be worked out over time, for a new intern, they can feel like an avalanche that crushes your eager, working mind.

Are you about to start a new internship? Curious about some of the obstacles or challenges you may experience as you begin your journey. Here are the most common challenges for a new intern.

work, paperwork, hands, iphone, desk

Image via Unsplash

1. Being underpaid or not paid at all: Internships are entry-level positions for people looking to build their careers in a specific field. These types of job positions are set up to make the work experience, as well as the connections you make on the job, more meaningful than any type of hourly or salaried pay. Because of this, a challenge you could face is being either underpaid or not paid at all. In this day and age, many people can’t afford to work and not get paid, and as internships are classified as jobs, the lack of compensation could be tough on your wallet and your spirit.

2. Being overworked or underworked: As stated earlier, internships are entry-level jobs that people will take on because the work experience and networking opportunities are worth the disadvantages that come with a position like that. Outside of potentially not being paid for your work, another challenge you may experience is being either underworked or overworked while doing your internship. Because internship positions are as entry-level as it gets, your workload can go either one of two ways: having little to no work or having an abundance of work. Penny Loretta of The Balance writes, “There is much to learn about an organization, its people, its mission, the clientele it serves, and much of that learning takes place while doing the run-of-the-mill work.”

3. Being subject to wavering expectations: While taking on an internship, regardless of what field you are in, you will undoubtedly experience your boss, manager, or even fellow peers or coworkers, dishing out wavering expectations to you. Often-time, too much is expected of interns and they are categorized as people who can instantly learn a job, absorb a new environment, or meticulously do tasks without prior knowledge. On the contrary, interns can also fall into a different category and be expected of too little. In this situation, interns can be subject to doing insignificant tasks, like getting coffee or office cleaning, because the assumption from the higher positions is that you are inexperienced. Regardless of which side of the coin you get in terms of expectations, just show your best abilities and prove why you are there.

4. Being in competition with other interns: Another common thing you can experience as an intern is having competitive peers and competing against them. It is unfortunately a dog-eat-dog world out there, and in a selective, competitive job market, people will do anything to get to where they want to be. As you are doing your internship, don’t be surprised if your peers or coworkers are cold, unkind, and closed off. This is not the case for everyone, but most likely you are competing against other interns for a permanent position at your respective company, which means everyone is on top of their game.

5. Being overwhelmed: In a new work environment filled with a new boss/manager, new job tasks, and new coworkers, you might feel overwhelmed. That’s totally natural and just shows that you are human. Being overwhelmed in an internship position can come from a variety of reasons, but the most important thing to realize is that you are in control and you can always back out if necessary. If you find yourself completely overwhelmed in your internship, you most likely won’t have the proper mindset to work and thrive in your new environment. To alleviate the stress and anxiety from being overwhelmed, Tara Mcnerney of Tough Nickel suggests, “Don’t fall into the “go home, eat, shower, sleep routine!” Schedule socializing and adventurous activities. Do what some of my friends have done to keep life spicy and full of friends:”

women, work, coworkers, boss, employee, whiteboard, office

Image via Unsplash

Making the leap and starting an internship position can be an intimidating but rewarding experience. As you work during your internship, you can experience differing workloads, varying expectations, and even just being overwhelmed by the newness of your position. Though these bumpy roads are never fun to ride, it’s always good to know what to anticipate so you can better prepare for your next move!

Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format